Where are they now? Mom Central Blogger Grant Program Winners Share Their Stories
More than two months, 650 applications and 32,000 public votes later, a group of five Mom bloggers split $10,000 in grants from Mom Central to promote their blogging platforms and personal brands.
Applicants described their visions, aspirations and challenges in their submissions. The Alexa ranking and tracking algorithm sorted submissions into top, mid and low tiers, and the 15 submissions with the most public votes from each tier made it to the final round. The Mom Central Grant Committee judged the 45 finalist submissions based on 40% blog need and 60% blog vision and aspiration.
Since the official winner announcement on May 2, grant recipients Tricia Fandrey, Rachel Lister, Cristi Comes, Jessica Nunemaker and Christy Ellingsworth have been putting their grants toward a variety of projects. The busy Moms and bloggers recently checked in with Mom Central and updated us on their progress since receiving the grants.
Tricia Fandrey, The Night Owl Mama
Tricia is California-bound for the BlogHer ’11 conference in August, and she is also attending the Midwest Moms Media conference in Chicago. The Night Owl Mama now pulls in profit by featuring advertising on the sidebar. She charges a small fee to write advertorial posts and promote them via social media. Tricia is making progress on her e-book about blogging about brands and plans to update the site to a premium theme. She wants to buy a tablet to allow her to tweet, share on Facebook, take notes and blog at conferences because she said it is important to share topics and photos while in the moment to increase online visibility.
Rachel Lister, Busy Mommy Media
Rachel used the grant to build and give back to the Busy Mommy Media community and team. She rewarded current writers, who have been working hard to constantly improve the quality of their work, by doubling their pay and hired an assistant editor. A few guest contributors have also earned compensation. Rachel plans to offer more paid contributor positions, hire another topic editor and update the look of the site as it grows. Rachel is also debating and researching the creation of an LLC. She is currently working with a graphic designer to create a new logo that appeals to a wider range of Moms.
Cristi Comes, Mother Unadorned (formerly EllieAdorn)
Since the end of the grant contest, Cristi rebranded EllieAdorn as Motherhood Unadorned to reflect the bare honesty of featured topics such as mental health, postpartum mood disorders, suicide prevention, infertility, miscarriage and adoption. Cristi has enlisted the help of a blog designer to give the renamed site a new look to match. She is networking with other Moms and bloggers, and she spreads her message by writing guest posts for other sites and with a banner advertisement on MommyPR. Like Tricia, Cristi used the grant to fund her trip to BlogHer ’11. Cristi also put her grant toward fundraising efforts for the Out of the Darkness Walk to benefit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention with Tracie Mason Holton of the Purposeful Practices Project. Additionally, Cristi and Tracie have teamed up to coordinate a Move for Mental Health Day in Seattle and two benefit concerts and silent auctions.
Jessica Nunemaker, little Indiana
Jessica has been able to increase the frequency of her posts and hit the road to offer more tips about where to play, stay and eat in little Indiana than ever! Jessica focuses on bolstering her business with the grant money and is working on a promotional media packet, including brochures and fliers. Her sister site, little Indiana Businesses, is sharing success with little Indiana, and she enjoys reading encouraging emails from readers.
Christy Ellingsworth, The Daily Dish
Christy continues to work on her low sodium/salt-free cookbook whenever inspiration strikes. She has begun co-hosting a Community Supported Agriculture partnership and strives to introduce readers to less commonly used vegetables, such as garlic scapes and bok choy, and encourage them to pick up seasonal items from their local farmer’s markets. According to Christy, “On a salt-free diet it's so important to exploit all realms of taste.” She has also put her grant to use toward a chicken coop and six laying hens for fresh eggs, which she says has generated vocal reader response. Her future plans include upgrading The Daily Dish website.